Even though Washington is in the upper left corner of the United States, getting from here to virtually anywhere is a snap. Nonstop flights from international airports and major interstates connect you to your favorite destinations, plus a few more that aren’t that convenient to get to from any other point in the U.S. Europe and Asia are only nine hours by air.
Seattle-Tacoma International is the main airport passengers use. Approximately 50 million people travel through the airport each year, making it one of the busiest in the nation.
The airport is about 30 minutes from Seattle or Tacoma. Light rail connects the airport with downtown Seattle.
Direct international flights to Amsterdam, Beijing, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Paris, Reykjavik, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taipei, and Tokyo are offered by the following international carriers:
- All Nippon
- British Airways
- EVA Air
- Hainan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Virgin Atlantic
Other carriers at Sea-Tac include Air Canada, Alaska Air, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, United and Virgin America, which provide connections to all major U.S. cities and many international destinations, many with direct flights.
On the east side of the state, Spokane International is the major hub, providing connecting service to Sea-Tac as well as direct service to major cities throughout Washington and the U.S. Many smaller airports in the state offer connecting service to these two airports.
Domestic Flight Times (non-stop)
- Seattle to Las Vegas: 2 1/3 hours
- Seattle to Los Angeles: 2 1/2 hours
- Seattle to Chicago: 4 hours
- Seattle to New York: 5 hours
- Seattle to Miami: 5 1/2 hours
Washington’s main highway is I-5, which runs north to south from the Canadian border to California. Just north of Seattle, I-405 serves as a connector to the Eastside and rejoins I-5 near Sea-Tac International Airport.
Highways 2, 20 and 12 and Interstate 90 connect Western and Eastern Washington, traveling through several mountain passes in the Cascades. I-90 terminates on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Smaller highways connect communities along the Pacific Coast and in Central Washington to the major freeways.
Approximate Drive Times
- Seattle to Portland: 3 1/2 hours
- Seattle to Vancouver BC: 3 hours
- Seattle to Spokane: 4 1/4 hours
- Seattle to the Pacific Ocean: 3 hours
- Seattle to Tri-Cities: 3 1/2 hours
A light rail system connects downtown Seattle to Angle Lake to the south, just beyond the airport. It is undergoing a massive expansion and will eventually terminate in Everett to the north, Tacoma to the south and the east side of Lake Washington.
A ferry system serves many of the island communities around the Puget Sound area. This includes scheduled service to the Kitsap Peninsula, Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Whidbey Island and the San Juans. The state’s 22 ferries transported more than 24 million passengers and 10.5 million vehicles last year. Floating bridges connect the Eastside of the greater Seattle area (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland) with Seattle.
Amtrak provides passenger train service to Vancouver B.C., California and the rest of the country. The main train station is located in downtown Seattle.
Many communities provide scheduled bus service. This is particularly true in urban centers where more people take transit than cars these days. Passenger-only ferries connect many communities to Seattle.